Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran), the executive arm of the Government of Oman for the development of the tourism sector and Majid Al Futtaim (MAF), the leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, yesterday announced a strategic partnership to develop the western area of Madinat Al Irfan.
The joint venture will see the development of a vibrant mixed-use community that will serve as the new urban centre for Muscat. The announcement was made at a signing ceremony and joint press conference today at the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre in Muscat, which was attended by members of the Royal Family, high-level government officials and senior leadership of Omran and Majid Al Futtaim.
This new partnership plays a major role in Oman national economic diversification agenda and reflects Omran’s strategic role as a catalyst of investment that forges solid partnerships with trusted developers like Majid Al Futtaim to create sustainable urban destinations and significant socio-economic benefits to the Sultanate.
Madinat Al Irfan is the Sultanate’s largest urban development project. It is set to contribute to Oman Vision 2040. The eastern area currently being developed by Omran sits alongside Wadi Park just minutes from the newly opened Muscat International Airport. It is a multi-use district adjoining the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre (OCEC), a world-class venue for international conferences, trade shows and concerts.
The new mixed-use community is located at the western area of Madinat Al Irfan and spans over 4.5 million sqm. The joint venture project investment value is estimated at RO 5 billion over a period of 20 years and is anticipated to create more than 30,000 direct and indirect jobs in the country. Centrally located in Muscat’s urban corridor, the development will become the gateway to Oman; creating a modern downtown for residents, businesses and visitors.
Dr Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy, Chairman of Omran stated: “The development of Madinat Al Irfan is a great addition to Muscat and reflects the vision of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos to diversify the Omani economy. The benefits to the local economy and tourism are already being realized, but it will also bring great economic and social benefit to the whole of the Sultanate. The overall scale of the project is unprecedented and directly aligns with the government’s vision to invest in sustainable developments to strengthen and diversify the economy of Oman for the future generations.”
Peter Walichnowski, CEO of Omran, commented: “In the heart of Muscat, Madinat Al Irfan is Oman’s largest urban development which exemplifies Omran’s leading role in fuelling expansion of the country’s tourism and real estate infrastructure, setting the benchmark for future sustainable urban lifestyle developments across the Sultanate. This is another important step forward in the transformation of Muscat’s real estate and tourism offering towards setting a new international benchmark for urban development living. Using the most innovative and sustainable development and business partnership approaches, while remaining true to Oman’s unique and rich cultural heritage — Madinat Al Irfan is fast becoming a key catalyst for economic and social growth and opportunities. When you look at what is being achieved here, I truly believe this is the most exciting urban development in the Gulf region today — and today’s partnership with Majid Al Futtaim is key to this.”
“Omran has been entrusted in strengthening and diversifying the national economy to support Oman’s Vision 2040 through pioneering tourism infrastructure and lifestyle development across Oman. In the years to come, Madinat Al Irfan will have major positive national implications, contributing approximately RO 400 mn to the local economy.
“Our partnership with Majid Al Futtaim is a clear demonstration of how Omran’s public-private strategic partnership approach is successfully bringing together the highest standards of expertise and quality with local knowledge and passion, which is now resulting in the rapid development of the local tourism industry and economy as a whole. We are already seeing this positive impact at Madinat Al Irfan, with the Oman Exhibition and Conference Centre precinct, which is now making a vital contribution to Oman’s MICE sector, serving as a centerpiece for wide range of major local and international events.
“Working with the Majid Al Futtaim team I have no doubt we will create a fantastic array of world-class experiences for the benefit of locals, residents and international visitors alike,” concluded Walichnowski.
Upon completion in three key stages, Madinat Al Irfan will feature more than 11,000 residential units comprising villas, townhouses and apartments, 100,000 sqm of retail space, 700,000 sqm of office space, as well as a number of cultural and lifestyle offerings. The development will serve as an integrated, sustainable and inclusive community, true to the values of Omani society. It will cater to all segments of the local community, providing a model for future urban developments, not just locally, but across the region. It will create a new urban lifestyle not yet seen in the Sultanate.
Alain Bejjani, Chief Executive Officer at Majid Al Futtaim — Holding, said, “I am incredibly proud of the efforts made to seal this partnership and excited by the opportunity given to Majid Al Futtaim to continue playing a key role in Oman’s economic development. Our long-standing commitment to this country has led us to invest RO 705 million and create employment opportunities for more than 42,000 people. We are Oman’s largest non-energy Gulf investor and a long-term contributor to the local economy. We are pleased to partner with Omran to unveil our second mixed-use development in the Sultanate and to be part of what is set to be the largest development in Oman, and we look forward to bringing this exciting new community to life, while contributing to Oman’s future growth.”
Madinat Al Irfan is poised to be a catalyst for change in Oman, and once completed, will set new benchmarks in sustainability and urban design. Majid Al Futtaim will be responsible for managing the development of all assets as part of the western area of Madinat Al Irfan, cementing its position as a leading community developer in the Sultanate, and unlocking further investment and expansion opportunities. The first phase of the project, scheduled for completion by 2023, will see investment in land infrastructure that will enable the development of mixed-use components.
“Oman has become a leading hub for real estate developments, given its growth and diversification agenda. With a proven track record in Al Mouj Muscat, we are taking a step forward towards delivering another world-class destination that is human-centric and true to its local culture and heritage. We are confident that Madinat Al Irfan will further strengthen the Sultanate’s reputation as one of the best places to live, work and play in the MENA region,” said Hawazen Esber, Chief Executive Officer of Communities at Majid Al Futtaim — Properties.
(Photos: Khalfan al Toobi)